Dedicated to the memory of the late Brian Archer who fulfilled his dream to re-create John Sprinzel's Sebring Sprite Coupé


Stirling Moss - 1960

BMC/Donald Healey Motor Co, 'Works' Cars

1959 to 1964

776 KNX 693 LAC
click on any of the above to access the individual web pages for these cars

The title Sebring Sprite was born out of the success of the 'works' team of Sprites which were entered for the 12 Hour Grand Prix d'Endurance at the Sebring Raceway in Florida, USA in March 1959. Less than a year after the Austin-Healey Sprite went into production, BMC entered four cars for this prestigious event. The cars were taken from the production line at Abingdon and transferred to Donald Healey Motor Co at The Cape Works, Warwick where Geoff Healey, son of Donald, organised their preparation. They were equipped with Dunlop disc brakes on all four wheels as well as Dunlop wire wheels and tyres.  Modifications to the engines included fitting 1¼" SUs Sebring1959in place of the smaller, 1⅛", originals. Jensen's pretty hardtops were fitted together with the taller-than-standard side-screens. Paintwork was Speedwell Blue (as against the standard Sprite colour: Iris Blue) with white hardtops. The all-American (almost, as Sutherland is Canadian) driver line-up was:


Race No Driver 1 Driver 2 Driver 3 Pos in race Today
53 Ed Leavens Dr. Harold Kunz   2nd believed destroyed when fell off trailer 'en route' to a 60's race at Wisconsin
54 Hugh Sutherland Phil Stiles   1st Click here to go to a page about this car, restored by Butch Gilbert
55 Fred Hayes John Christy John Colgate


car bore reg no 173 AC

78 Sydney Oakes Greta Oakes P. Bethel



The fourth car, No. 78, was a reserve and did not race but the remaining Butchthree ran (mostly) reliably throughout the long race finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in their class (for 750 to 1000cc GT cars). After the event the cars were apparently sold off to local dealers and did not return to the UK. One of them, the No.54 Sutherland/Stiles car which won its class has recently under-gone full restoration by its owner Butch Gilbert in California (right) and has been for sale. More:


For the 1960 race a new car (though Geoff Healey described it as their Targa Florio car, TFR 1) was built up by the Canadian distributors using parts supplied from Warwick, England. It bore the registration plate 7080AC and had a red body with white or grey hardtop and was entered with Stirling Moss as its driver. He finished 1st in class and 2nd overall.  (Historic photos kindly supplied by Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird). The car story is recorded on the 'moss60sebring' page and many of the car's components are thought to be contained in the one now owned by Ron Gordon. A second car entered may have been one of the 1959 cars which this time ran un-registered and its drivers were Moore and Lilley. It failed to complete the distance.

&  the 12 HOURS


John Sprinzel and John Lumkin drove the Falcon-bodied Sprite  bearing the registration 5983AC in this, the long distance race, to 1st place in its class, 41st overall.       The Works Falcon Sprite



Reg No: Race No: Driver Co-driver Body Overall result
8423UE 4 Ed Leavens   GRP body 6th
8424UE 6 Briggs Cunningham Dick Thompson GRP body 8th
8425UE 5 BruceMcLaren   GRP body with hood 4th
8427UE 3 Walt Hansgen   Alloy hardtop by Les Ireland 3rd


(N.B. It is not verified as to whether Nos.4 & 6 were 8423UE or 8424UE, or vice versa.)

It was in this event that Stirling Moss, driving Sprinzel's Coupé PMO200, came 5th overall and his sister, P1961worksat, was seventh in S221 (See under Williams & Pritchard). Butch Gilbert kindly supplied me with information relating to the car believed to have been driven by Briggs Cunningham. The Walt Hansgen car later became the Ecurie Ecosse Le Mans car re-registered 1413WD.

& the 12 HOURS

Reg No: Race No: Driver Co-driver Body Class Overall
8426UE 65 Ed Leavens John Colgate "The Roadster" 3rd 25th
8427UE 66 Joe Buzetta Glenn Carlson Alloy hardtop by Les Ireland 2nd 15th


1962/3 ~ see The Mark 2s 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

See also the Works Register 1959 to 64 page, and then take a look at Works Cars 1965 to 69 and Works Register 1965 to 69 for the 10 "wind-tunnel" cars, and others of that period.

Return to top